Sex Discrimination and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity
Treating employees less favorably because they are a man, woman, or a member of the LGBT community is not only wrong, it’s illegal. Yet, this discrimination continues to pervade many workplaces, robbing people of the right to advance as far in their employment as their talents and abilities can take them, regardless of gender.
Even since the women’s rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, women have been paid less than men for doing the same jobs, discriminated against because of pregnancy, and denied their rightful place in the boardrooms of corporate America. And while it may be less common, men are often discriminated against too, whether because of sex stereotypes or gender bias. But the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was meant to make gender totally irrelevant to employment decisions.
Experienced employment discrimination attorneys at Hall & Lampros, LLP have fought successfully to protect the right to be free from workplace discrimination based on gender. In fact, Hall & Lampros employment discrimination attorneys have been at the forefront of expanding the law to protect LBGT workers from workplace discrimination too. One of our attorneys, Brian J. Sutherland, represented Gerald Bostock in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020), which made it unlawful for employers nationwide to discriminate against LGBT employees because of who they are or who they love. If you have been discriminated against as a result of your gender, Hall & Lampros employment discrimination attorneys will fight for justice for you. Call us now at 404-876-8100 or submit a confidential inquiry for a free consultation.
Identifying Gender Discrimination
Gender discrimination refers to treating employees or prospective employees differently because of their gender. While the terms sex and gender are often used interchangeably in relation to discrimination, there is a distinction that should be addressed.
Sex: Your sex refers to your biological identity as a male or female, including your chromosomes, hormones, and anatomy.
Gender: Your gender, on the other hand, refers to a wide range of characteristics that our culture associates with being either male or female, such as traits people typically consider “masculine” or “feminine.” You might identify as a male or female or even neither (“nonbinary”), regardless of the sex assigned to you at birth.
Discriminating against a female employee because she is female, or against a transgender employee who identifies as male, or against an employee who identifies as nonbinary is illegal. Also illegal is punishing any employee for failing to conform to gender stereotypes about what “real men” or “real women” should be like.
Common Examples of Gender Discrimination
While every charge of gender discrimination is unique to the specific circumstances involved, most cases fall into one of several basic classifications.
Hiring, Firing, and Promotion: If you are an excellent candidate for a job opening but are not hired because of your sex or if you are passed up for a promotion due to your gender identity, this is discriminatory. Perhaps your boss has clients who are more comfortable working with women, and this fact led to you—a man—being let go. Or perhaps your employer fired you, a lesbian woman, because you are married to another woman. Gender discrimination in terms of hiring, firing, and promotion can take many forms, and because it can be challenging to prove, working closely with a dedicated Atlanta employment discrimination attorney at Hall & Lampros is an excellent place to start.
Compensation: The fact is that women—by virtue of simply being women—routinely earn less than men. If you are making less as a woman than a male coworker with similar qualifications and experience, it could be gender discrimination. In fact, Pew Research Center finds that the pay gap between men and women was 16 cents in 2020 (with women earning 16 cents per hour less on average than men), which is down from a 33-cent pay gap in 1980. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits this kind of discrimination, and so does the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Hall & Lampros employment discrimination attorneys know this law and can put it to work for you.
Job Classification: If your job classification is dialed back because you are unable to continue putting in the amount of overtime you once did after having a baby, it may be considered gender discrimination if your male counterparts are allowed to do the same for personal reasons. Pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination by virtue of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to provide more protection for workers.
Benefits: Gender discrimination can also factor into the benefits that you receive. For example, if your employer assumes that your husband will be covered by his own insurance benefits while your co-workers’ wives are covered by theirs, it is a form of gender discrimination based on gender stereotypes. Or if male employees are being provided with less parental leave benefits than female employees, that can also be a form of gender discrimination.
Proving Sex Discrimination and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity
Proving discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity can be challenging. Most employers do not openly state their intent to discriminate for these reasons. As a result, employees must use circumstantial evidence to build a case. They must first establish a threshold showing that they are a member of a protected class, have been subjected to an adverse employment action, that someone else not in their protected class was treated more favorably than they were.
Once an employee establishes the threshold showing, the burden shifts to the employer to articulate what is referred to as a “legitimate non-discriminatory” reason for the refusal to hire, discipline, suspension, termination, or other adverse employment action. At this stage, employers often falsely claim that an employee performed poorly, violated work policies, or engaged in other misconduct, all in an effort to cover up discrimination. And that is the employee’s burden of proof in court—to prove that the employer’s reason for the adverse employment action is “pretext” for unlawful discrimination.
Proving an employment discrimination case with circumstantial evidence can be very difficult. Many times employers hide the truth and defense lawyers attempt to keep the employee from developing the evidence they need to be able to present their case to a jury at trial. But Hall & Lampros employment discrimination attorneys are experienced at winning in court and at trial, despite these difficulties.
Seek the Legal Guidance You Need From an Experienced Atlanta Employment Discrimination Attorney
If you have suffered discrimination on the job because of your sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, the employment discrimination attorneys at Hall & Lampros, LLP, have an impressive track record of guiding cases like yours toward advantageous outcomes. For a free consultation about your rights with no obligation and no pressure, call us today at 404-876-8100 or submit a confidential inquiry online and an attorney will review it and contact you right away.